Guiding Light: Can Religion and Politics be separated?

A very persistent question that has been the subject of age-old controversy is: “Should religion keep away from the field of politics or should it play a role in the affairs of the state?” When one reviews the relevant events of the past few years, or even the current events that are taking place across the country, one feels like saying that Religion should keep its arms off politics. But when we go deeper into these events and have an overall review of the present world-situation, we feel that if Religion is kept out of politics, then, the state is deprived of a more benign and more humanitarian role. The state is then reduced to a mere law-making, law-enforcing agency or to a financing and distributing agent and defense keeping sentry. One also comes to the conclusion that though the events that recently took place in some parts of India are due more to dirty politics than to real religion. Religion, in all these cases was made a tool but the real forces at work were the feelings of hatred, and the real intent was the motive of political gain. Some detached thinking would further reveal that unprincipled politics has penetrated religion and that religion which, in its pure form, inspires for having, good-will towards all, and for employing justice, fair play and non-violence in one's dealings, had become enthrottled by politics so that it can neither raise its voice against man's criminal tendencies nor is it free to clear politics of its cobwebs of secretive machinations and corruptive influences. 

True Religion aims at developing in man the qualities of universal love and the feelings of brotherhood and compassion. That which creates hatred, communal bitterness, public disturbance of riotous acts is not at all to be called Religion, for these are exactly antagonistic to the spirit of Religion. So, Religion, in this sense, has a positive and important role in society and hence it would be wrong to remove such religion out of politics. We should remember well that politics is concerned with law, with a view to regulating human conduct whereby human well-being can effectively be ensured and maximum amount of public good and individual welfare can be secured. Thus, it can be easily said that politics and religion are two inseparable aspects of the same human personality and one naturally over-flows into the other and that is why the two cannot be completely separated.

— By Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj ji

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